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A friend of mine



By Srijana Raje

Dear Klaus.

While we were friends, I was breathless.

Now you are.

The past was a foreign country, I did things differently there. The snow on the mountains was melting and it took an entire period of six months for Klaus’s demise to sink in.

He’d been dead for 19 days before they found him. It was the biggest manhunt Manhattan had ever seen – the FBI, State Troopers, and even an army helicopter was looking for him. People came from afar and wide to see the sight, New Hampshire, Old York and even as far as Boston and Massachusetts.

It really takes all that is there in me to believe that Blue’s modest plans could have worked so well despite these unanticipated consequences. We hadn’t hidden the body, with the intention that it couldn’t be found. In fact, we had simply left it where some luckless
passer-by would stumble upon it before anyone even realised he was missing. This was such a tale that told itself simply and without many convolutions: the sharp rocks, the body located at the bottom of the ravine with a clean break in the neck, and the muddy skid, marks dug in heels pointing south.

It would have been a hiking accident, no more, no less, and it might have been left at that, everybody would have forgotten about it. A few quiet tears and a small funeral. Almost 19 days later, when the thaw finally came, the searchers from all over town saw that they had been walking back and forth around his body until the snow surrounding it was packed down like ice.

It is difficult to comprehend that such a humongous fuss was caused for an incident that I am partially responsible for. Even more difficult to believe that I could have walked through it – the spies, the uniforms and black crowds sprinkled over mount sable like ants in a sugar bowl- without incurring a blink of suspicion.

But walking through it all was one thing, walking away, has unfortunately proved to be another, and though once I thought I had left that valley behind me forever on a May afternoon long ago, now I am not quite as sure. Now the searchers have departed and life has grown quiet around me.

And after we stood whispering in the underbrush with one last look at the body and the last look round, no dropped keys, lost glasses, everybody got everything? I took one glance back through the saplings that leaped to close the path behind me. A picture that will forever haunt me.

I stand here writing this beside my friend’s grave.

The world is quiet here, now.